About Fallout (1955)
Dispels many of the common myths and fallacies about radioactive fallout.
Ken Smith sez: "Radiation is something we live with every day." This film drips Eisenhower; promoting a cozy, nuclear-war-isn't-so-bad approach, as opposed to the more frenetic drumbeat of the Truman years. As long as we "know the facts" and "act intelligently," the narrator assures us, we'll be able to weather any nuclear firestorm that blows our way. "The key to survival is adequate shelter," we are told. "The fallout shelter is the best defense. Without shelter, millions would face death." To ensure that we understand this, we are shown an animated map of the U.S. after its been hit with about 1000 nuclear warheads, all ground bursts, and we see a terrible cloud of resulting fallout that quickly covers the entire country. It's a bone-chilling graphic, but this is, after all, a motivational movie.
Chock-full of the usual fuzzy advice ("Fallout swallowed accidentally with food or drinking water would do you no immediate harm"), and a nice, Ike touch -- any concept remotely unsettling is shown through animation, while live action is reserved for happy, under-control Americans. This film very clearly shows how mid-fifties Washington, having worked America into a nuclear frenzy, was trying to put a reassuring spin on a messy situation.
Subject: This film was released in 1967!
Subject: Reviews and reviewers...
Let's look at this practically. We have two camps; the 'if they knew then what we know now' camp and the 'at least there was some hope for some' camp. Let me be clear about what I am shortly going to type, I am not looking back for me nice comfortable chair in the 21st century when I type and read the following!
As a fact! when I was growing up (70's) we knew an all out nuclear assault could not be survived, by either side, by 90% of the populace. There was no shiny new coat of paint on this. Nuclear warmeant, total nuclear war, and total nuclear war meant death. Simple! Now I was aware of these films before I even saw my first, and even way back when I did see my first one it was totally laughable that anyone could have produced such garbage, or that anyone had the capacity to chock it down for mental digestion. Why do you think most are designed for children...they can suspend there disbelief, because they haven't developed any yet! If you don't believe the government that sponsored, scripted and, filmed these tales of misinformation knew all the while that they were lieing, well I got some magic beans and they just happen to be for sale.
Point is this. These films were not made to help some survive, survival by luck can not be demonstrated. They were not made to show what research had shown to be true, research had falsified most every claim ever made in these films (the few true facts shown are there only to give weight to the true message).
These films were made for a singular purpose, to foster fear of the enemy. The message is clear; 'Here's what the enemy can do to you, here's something we want you to think you must be prepared to do about it. Think about it day and night. Don't let one moment pass without it on your mind! See how horrible the enemy has made your life? Hate your enemy!!!'
Anyone in there nice comfy 21st century chairs find this message familiar?? You should!!
So camp one, they did know then, they just choose to classify it as a secret for national security reasons.
Camp two, I still have those magic beans!!
Subject: About Fallout
How is History going to "judge" you and your work?
Subject: Why be cynical?
And here's something to think about for Spuzz and his ilk: while I know government disinformation is to this day alive and well, why would the US government knowingly kill off millions of its own people by giving them information that was overtly wrong? If the Soviets had bombed us then, this information *could* have saved *some* people. This was in a time when atomic war was almost considered inevitable. People high in the government knew that nuclear war would kill millions and also knew that not much could be done to stop that. The mentality here is to save as many as you can without getting the populace worried about something that was considered inevitable.
Subject: About Fallout (1955)
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Subject: The Atomic Age part 2
Subject: Don't Worry, Be Happy.